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Generating low poly from a texture's height map

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Hi! I've started making my own materials in Substance Designer. I'm really loving the results so far, but I have a little problem. Let's say I have a brick wall texture for example. It's pretty easy to use it if my walls are just a flat plane - but it looks much better if the walls have extra geometry for protruding bricks, for example. But how do I properly achieve that?

I did some tests on Blender to by using a Displace modifier + Decimate. It works pretty well. But then the mesh itself is taking the direction of the bricks into account. That's redundant with the information in the normal map itself, meaning the world normals would be twice as exaggerated.

I can think of a way of fixing this: having the geometry itself have all normals pointing forward. But... I'm not sure if that would actually give me the correct result, and I'm not sure what kind of problems I may run into because of that.

What's the usual way of dealing with this?

Thanks a lot in advance!


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